Finding and creating adventures in everyday life.


Words on Wednesday – Vulnerability

“Do you want to be a prophet?” Thomas asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Everywhere I go, I meet people, old and young, from all over the world, and they tell me about their lives, their relationships, broken families, their addictions, shame, guilt, failures. You’ll never be able to speak into their souls unless you speak the truth about your own wounds. You need to tell them what our Lord has come to mean to you in the midst of your disappointments and losses. All ministry begins at the ragged edges of our own pain,” he said.

“Do you know the story of Rabbi Zusya?” he asked. “He was Chasidic master who lived in the 1700s. One day he said, “When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me ‘Why weren’t you Moses?’ Rather he will ask me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’” Thomas let that thought hang in the air for a moment, then continued. “Churches should be places where people come to hear the story of God and to tell their own. That’s how we find out how the two relate. Tell your story with all of its shadows and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who’s authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life. They need you, not Moses,” he said.

This is a quote from the book Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron. Thomas goes on to talk about Christianity as “living dangerously open”, “living an unprotected life”.

Can I say how much I want to be safe? I want my family to be safe. I’ve lived in numerous countries, travelled a lot, partaken in adventure/extreme sports, wandered the streets of cities, chased muggers down the road, and yet I have this deep desire to be safe.  I want to be emotionally safe. I’ve been vulnerable to people who have abused that gift that I gave to them and so I shy from admitting weaknesses and pain.  My weaknesses are many, my pain is present and yet I try so hard to hide these things from other people – probably coming across as both confident and arrogant. That is not my desire, but I got to tell you that this whole vulnerability thing scares the poop out of me.

I’m not talking about airing all my dirty laundry on Facebook or my blog. I’m talking about speaking with an authentic voice about the things that I am going through and have gone through. I’m talking about moving on from small talk to soul talk. I’m not talking about a polite dabbing of the eyes, but about weeping.  I’m talking about intimacy and not fluff.

I also know that along with weeping, there is laughter. Along with the sobs there needs to be frivolity and jokes and the mundane. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.

My oldest son will be starting school this year. I’m not worried about him academically, but my heart aches for the pain that I know he’ll experience as his social world opens up. The pain that we humans inflict on each other both intentionally & unknowingly. I don’t want to see him suffer. I do know that if I try to protect him from the pain he might receive at the hand of others, I will deny him the joy and grace and life that he can receive from others as well.

It comes down to this, I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want my friends and family to get hurt. I don’t want people to laugh at me or think less of me. That’s no way to live life. Because the pain is worth the gift of relationship.

I want to go forward living life wide open – to people, to experiences, to joy, to pain, to community, to wonder.

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Tasty Tuesday – No Bake Energy Bites

I made these No Bake Energy Bites today. Supremely easy & very tasty. I love them, but I’m not sure that Colin will like them – he has issues with raw oats due to some trauma during his childhood. They are made with ingredients that I usually have on hand (a part from the flaxseed – which I skipped & just added extra oats). The recipe made about 22 of the little bites. They keep in the fridge for a week & are very addicting!

Since they are energy bites, I’m going to have a couple in hopes that I don’t fall asleep this afternoon…


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Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Chili

We love chili around these parts for many reasons – the number one reason being that it’s tasty! Other reasons include: cost, versatility, it’s easy to make, it’s a great meal to make for a crowd.

We have semi-regular game nights at our house with a group of people who love to play games – Settlers of Catan, Starfarers of Catan and Power Grid are some of our favourites. We always start the evening with a meal. I usually make the main dish & everyone else brings sides, drinks & desserts. It’s a fun bunch of people. There are heaps of kids running around playing too. Good times.

One of the main dishes that I make regularly is chili. It’s cost-effective for feeding a lot of people and easy to get ready early in the day. I don’t actually have a recipe that I follow so it always turns out a bit different, but I thought I’d share the general guidelines that I use.

I start with either ground beef or ground turkey – browned up with some onions. I adjust the amount depending on how many people are coming. In my last batch I used both ground beef and some andouille sausage that I had on hand and I actually think it was the best I’ve made so far.

So I add the browned meat and onions to the crock pot along with a couple of large cans of diced, pealed tomatoes and several cans of rinsed and drained beans. I use several types of beans in each batch – black, pinto and kidney are what I use mostly, but I’ll try anything! I stir it all together and season it with Johnny’s Season Salt and McCormick Taco Seasoning. I also add a generous amount of cummin. Sometimes I also put corn in the mix.

That’s pretty much it. I set the crock pot on low and check in on it throughout the day, adjusting the seasoning as necessary. I don’t add much heat because it’s usually a mixed crowd with lots of kids – if you’re with a group of people who can handle it, it can definitely be spiced up. I think that’s why I liked my last batch with the andouille sausage so much – it gave some heat without overpowering the mix.

We serve it with grated cheese, sour cream and raw onions for those who like that sort of thing! We usually have cornbread and/or tortilla chips and/or Fritos as well.

It’s a super versatile recipe with lots of room to put your own spin on it. What are your favourite chili ideas?

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Make It Monday – Christmas Confidential

Prepare yourself for lots of images! I made heaps of presents for Christmas this year. I got loads of ideas off of Pinterest & tried to add my own twist where possible. I really enjoyed making more things this year. Our whole family actually made gifts – it was so fun to see the effort, time & thought that went into the homemade gifts.

I have been making fort kits for a while and giving them as gifts to the boy’s friends. I hadn’t made a kit for my boys yet though, so they got one for Christmas. I also made one for my nephew Jesse. The wonderful thing is that my sister made a kit for my boys & her son as well, so we now have a double kit! It’s been super handy as well, because my boys like to cover the entire living room with sheets. We’ve had so much fun with this gift – forts & a stage are regular additions to playtime. I am really pleased with the grommets that I added at six points around the sheets – they are great for tying up to whatever might be around. I used thrifted sheets & supplies from the dollar store which makes it a super affordable gift with heaps of creative possibilities.

I made some rings using ring blanks & vintage clip on earrings. I love the idea of repurposing vintage clip on earrings – they don’t get much use as earrings, but they are so beautiful. I have heaps of ideas for other uses for these earrings & quite a collection of them from my thrifting adventures. I plan on making things for my shop that I am planning on starting this year.

Anytime Art Jar – super easy to put together & heaps of fun for the kids.

I made a key-inspired wind chime for my Dad. I also made a crate of fire starters for his outdoor fire pit. There are several different scents: pine cone, cinnamon, sage, and rosemary. I used pinecones with dried herbs wrapped in newspaper.

I made homemade reed diffusers for some of my family.

I made a couple of picture/plaques for my Mom & Dad. I tried my hand at wood burning – harder than I thought it would be, but super fun & I’m inspired to try some new things.

I made a vintage brooch bouquet for my Mom. I thought it turned out so pretty.

I also found a lot of tiny, vintage charms on eBay for a steal & made a charm bracelet for my Mom – she loves blue, windmills & flowers so I thought it was appropriate. My sister & I also found a matching windmill ring in a local thrift store – love those special finds!

This last one is a gift that my sister made for my youngest son that I thought was so cool. It’s a bunch of roads made out of old jeans. She put it all in a handmade bag & added some cars. He loves it!

I’d love to hear about your homemade gifts! I’m excited for another year of creative inspiration & making gifts.

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Words on Wednesday – 12 in 12

So New Year’s Resolutions – everyone has an opinion. Some people love them, some people really don’t like them.

I’ve always been a fan – whether I followed through on all of my resolutions or not, I love the idea of new beginnings, of setting goals, of challenging myself. I do deal with resolution incompletion guilt though so I decided to take a gentler approach this year. It does make them sound a bit wishy-washy, but I’ve fleshed them out a bit off-blog.

I’ve seen some other bloggers doing a 12 in 12 type of thing & I really liked the idea so that’s what I went with. At the moment, in addition to my 12 I need to figure out my sleep. If I can start feeling more rested, it will help tremendously with everything on my list.

So, without further ado,  and in no particular order, here’s my 12 in 12…

1. Simplify – budget, get rid of stuff, buy less
2. Pursue God – Bible every day, journal, pray more
3. Move More
4. Create More – including creating stock to sell (scary!), develop my shop/brand
5. Reading List – alternate fiction & non-fiction
6. Less TV, More Learning

Build More of These!

7. Get Intuitive about Eating
8. Serve – find places to volunteer personally & as a family
9. Get some Mad Skills – Photoshop & Photography

I love taking photos!

10. Spend more time Outside
11. Build Relationships – be proactive, tough for this introvert!
12. Be a Better Blogger – have a plan

Here’s to a thoughtful, joyful, restful, creative kind of year!

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Tasty Tuesday – Savoury, Savoury, Sweet

Well, I’m back! We had a lovely Christmas/New Year. I loved how many gifts that our family exchanged this year were homemade. I’ll be posting about some of those gifts in the coming weeks.

I’m highlighting a couple of recipes from recent weeks today. All the recipes were found via Pinterest.

The first recipe was for Crockpot Lasagna This was so incredibly easy & super tasty. I loved that I didn’t have to cook the noodles before putting them in the lasagna.

The second recipe was for Cornbread Taco Casserole. Again, easy & tasty!

Finally, something sweet. I used two recipes – one for Reeses Crescent Rolls & one for Smores Crescent Rolls. They were both yummy – some in the family preferred the Reeses & some preferred the Smores.

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday season & that 2012 is a year full of joy & adventure. I’ll be sharing my 12 in 12 soon.